The La Salette District Community of Myanmar has been in existence for the past nine years and we are truly blessed to have vocations. We have one seminarian in second year of theology, five seminarians in the second year of theology and three seminarians in philosophy studies as well as two aspirants who are preparing for the English Entrance Exam to Philosophy this year. There are a total of eleven seminarians and thirteen perpetually professed members. We are very thankful to God!
After having settled down in our ministries, the focus of our district community during these foundational years is to set up formation programs and formation houses. We now have a house for philosophy students in the town of Pyin Oo Lwin in the Mandalay Diocese, and construction of a novitiate house is being planned in the same locality.
One of the focal points of our formation program is to promote an appreciation of culture in our formation houses. The district has been keen in obtaining books which would provide ample learning for our seminarians. Fr. Bernard Taylor, M.S., then the District Superior generously donated many of his personal books and bought some other books from India when Fr. Philip Naw Aung, M.S., finished his studies in India.
Also some members have donated their personal books to our seminary for a new library. However we have collected only a small portion of books compared with the needs of our district – particularly for the growing number of our seminarians. Concerning available library resources in the country, our internet connection is slow and it’s still difficult if not impossible to buy eBooks (digital books).
Fortunately through the initiative and enthusiasm of Fr. Ronald Gagne, M.S, Director of Communications for the Province of Mary, Mother of Americas (North America and Region of Argentina/Bolivia) began the challenging project. The Attleboro La Salette Community decided to donate their entire Philosophy/Theology Library to the Myanmar La Salettes. With the exceptional assistance of Fr. Skip Negley, M.S., the Provincial Superior and his Council, the funding was provided for moving the complete Attleboro Library to Myanmar. The packing and shipping of the books took more than a month, and eventually amounted to one hundred large boxes of books and other materials.
In Myanmar, it took a few more months to complete the process of remodeling a building to house the new library, and necessitating purchasing bookshelves, a reading table and some chairs. Fr. Lucas Swan Za Lian, M.S., the Director of Philosophy Seminarians, took charge of putting the library in place in the Formation House in Pyin Oo Lwin. After a few months of hard work, the library was completed and it is now ready to serve the needs of our seminarians for their studies as well as for our older members who would like to further update and enhance their knowledge.
The new library contains about seven thousand books and we continue to gather more books for the library. Getting books for theology and philosophy is very difficult in our country so this resident collection is quite valuable. Remarkably our library may turn out to be one of the largest collections of philosophy and theology books in the country!
It is our hope and intent that it will be best served for the use of our own seminarians and members of our La Salette district community. However it is also open to others who would like to widen their knowledge especially in the fields of theology and philosophy and other allied fields.
Our sincerest gratitude goes to all the people who made this library possible and is now available to be used in our country. This was a truely collaborative project, and well worth the effort!